LOCAL service providers for people experiencing domestic violence have welcomed new legislation giving victims leave from work to deal with the problem.
And ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services has offered training to employers and their employees in dealing with the issue.
Denise Dunne, director of ADAPT said on behalf of the service this week that they welcomed the introduction of domestic violence leave under the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023, which came into effect on Monday (November 27).
Under the new legislation, it is now a legal requirement for employers to offer up to five days of paid leave over a 12 month period to employees affected by domestic abuse or coercive control.
“What is important to remember is that for anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse and coercive control, the impact on their lives is massive,” Ms Dunne said.
“For those that are working it is very difficult to try and seek support for domestic abuse and hold down a job at the same time. You need time to meet with domestic abuse services, time to make statements to the Gardaí, to attend medical appointments, to meet with solicitors, go to court, to relocate if you need to.
“Up to now, employees had to try to arrange this when they weren’t working or use up their annual leave. What this statutory entitlement will do is not only recognise the severity and impact of domestic abuse on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing by granting them this additional leave, but really show that domestic abuse and coercive control is being taken seriously by all of society and it won’t be tolerated”.
Ms Dunne said it will also help to raise greater awareness of domestic abuse with employers.
“What we would like to see is employers contacting specialist domestic abuse services, such as ADAPT, with a view to training some of their staff in how to respond safely to disclosures of domestic abuse and also look at other ways they can support employees who are experiencing domestic abuse/coercive control.
Launching the legislation, Minister for Children and Equality Roderic O’Gorman said no one experiencing domestic violence should have to risk poverty or unemployment to seek support.
The Minister said Ireland is one of the first countries in the European Union to introduce this right.
Research shows that more than one in three working people surveyed across multiple industries and at varying levels of seniority have experienced domestic abuse.
Last week, a new online support hub (DVatWork.ie) was launched for employers ahead of the introduction of statutory domestic violence leave.